“Have you had Himachali apples?” the three women ask. “They’re really good, you know. The best.”
I am at Sarahan in Himachal Pradesh walking around and exploring this pretty little town, when I meet the 3 women and get into a conversation about apples with them.
“I know. I’ve had them in Mumbai,” I smile.
“Oh Mumbai,” the first woman says in a dismissive tone. “After all the travelling the apples do, they won’t taste the same.” The other two women laugh.
“Yes, they won’t,” the second woman insists. “You must have Himachali apples here. In Himachal.
“Would you like some apples?”asks the third woman.
“Sure,” I say. “I’d love to have an apple.”
Within minutes, I am biting into an apple that one of the women gives me. It is fresh and juicy — a little sweet, a little tart — just the way I like my apples. And the women are right, the apple tastes like nothing I’ve had before. “They’re perfect,” I say to the women.
That is the cue for the women to give me more apples and before I know it I am clutching a paper bag full of apples and saying thanks and goodbye to the 3 women. They refuse payment from me and say that my appreciation is payment enough and send me on my way !
Continue reading “Serene Sarahan”
I dreamt about you yesterday.
It was a lovely dream where my 10-day trip to Fagu, Sarahan, Kalpa, Sangla, Narkhanda and Chail in September was relived all over again. I usually don’t remember my dreams when I wake up, but this one was so crystal clear and real that I’m pretty sure that I must have spoken in my sleep !
I dreamt of the trip of many firsts — the first time I visited your state, the first time I saw the mighty Himalayas, the first time my under-graduate and post-graduate classes on Himalayan Geology came alive, the first time I saw apples on trees, the first time I tasted a yellow plum, the first time I saw the confluence of two rivers … and so much more.
I dreamt about the rainstorm you welcomed me and the group I was travelling with. And how in the space of a few hours, we went from hot and humid Mumbai to cold, almost freezing, weather in Fagu. That night, I slept under two blankets and had a heater in the room.
I dreamt of that first morning I woke up to in Fagu. Clouds had covered the entire valley and I delighted in watching the clouds vanish like wisps of vapour as the sun rose in the sky to reveal the distant snow-clad peaks of the Himalayas. And closer, much closer, was the vegetation associated with the Himalayan ecosystem. Not that I could identify any, but still… 🙂
Continue reading “Dear Himachal Pradesh…”